Measuring cognitive load management in a traditional martial arts training model
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A training method utilized in a few martial arts was found to agree strongly with current cognitive psychology theory. Further study extracted a procedural model for learning a complex set of whole-body, dyadic motor skills involving high-speed, interactive, continuous situation assessment and decision making. A broader literature survey found relevance in several fields of research, supporting the definition of four performance dimensions in the activity. Data collected from one experienced student partnering with each of ten students of various experience levels was analyzed on these four dimensions. These dimensions were found sufficient to show both individual differences and changes across an instructional intervention. Strong correlations found under linear regression were supportive of anecdotal evidence from the model??s long empirical history in training. Data provided evidence of a self-organizing dynamic emerging from the interaction of a dyad participating in this activity, and of individual differences in cognitive resource management dynamically setting allocation priorities among specific aspects of a complex motor/cognitive activity. Highly individual responses demonstrate a mechanism for insight into students that are difficult to read. Numerous comparisons and contrasts show interactivity of performance dimensions. Impact is foreseen for research, training and testing in motor learning fields, as well as situation awareness, decision making and military tactical training. Further research is recommended to replicate these findings, test hypotheses derived from them, and to extend testing of the drill-network model into other fields of learning.
Subjectmartial arts cognition
cognitive load dynamics
naturalistic decision making
Maier, Herbert N. (2003). Measuring cognitive load management in a traditional martial arts training model. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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